Understanding MTHFR and Methylation: A Beginner’s Guide

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A Beginner’s Guide to MTHFR and Methylation Understanding

Methylation is a very basic biochemical process, but it plays a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of the human body.

During methylation, four atoms are essentially transferred from one location to another.

There are many genes that play a part in ensuring methylation occurs without interruption or problems, and MTHFR is a particularly important one.

This article explores the relationship between MTHFR and methylation, considering how methylation works and what can happen when there are problems with the functionality of your MTHFR genes. 

What is Methylation?

The term methylation refers to a process that happens all the time in your body. It’s when four specific atoms are transferred, often from one cell to another.

The biochemical process transfers three hydrogen atoms, known as CH3, and one carbon atom.

mthfr and methylation

When methylation occurs, the transference of these atoms essentially leads to the activation of a specific molecule – which, in turn, has its own functions to perform. 

You can look at methylation as a type of switch. It can turn processes on and off.

Sometimes, the switch is to activate the functions of a specific system. Methylation can also occur with the goal of triggering certain reactions in your body. 

The methylation process is involved in detoxification, vision, liver health, cellular energy metabolism, histamine metabolism, the production of neurotransmitters, and many other biological processes and systems. 

The Role of MTHFR Genes in Methylation

When it comes to ensuring the efficient execution of methylation processes, it is important to understand the role that genes play.

There are several genes involved in ensuring methylation occurs flawlessly, and one of the most important ones is MTHFR.

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is the gene that ensures folate can be produced from folic acid.

This particular vitamin plays many roles in human health, but it is not usable in folic acid form. This is why your body needs to convert it to folate, which is a key component in helping with the creation of DNA. 

Apart from this conversion process, the enzymes that the gene produces are also important for creating antioxidants that help the body detoxify itself. This enhances the protection against free radicals that causes oxidative stress. 

Sometimes, mutations happen in your MTHFR gene. When there are mutations in the gene, problems are usually found in the enzymes that it creates. Two of the most common mutations include C677T and A1298C. 

The MTHFR gene helps to provide a “kickstart” to the methylation process. When mutations are present in the gene, it can impact its ability to ensure the methylation process is properly activated.

This can sometimes result in a higher risk of certain health conditions while also increasing the amount of homocysteine that circulates through your body. 

These effects can raise your risk of depression, cardiovascular diseases, anxiety, and even certain types of cancers.

Chronic pain, as well as consistent fatigue, have also been linked to the presence of mutations in the MTHFR genes, along with regular migraines. 

mthfr and methylation

In addition to these effects, another important factor to keep in mind is that MTHFR and methylation dysfunction resulting in mutations may cause some problems in pregnancy.

If you have a mutation in this gene, then make sure you talk to your healthcare provider before you become pregnant.

They may decide to run some tests to help them determine how the gene mutation is affecting you – and then provide appropriate recommendations that can help to minimize the risks during pregnancy. 

It’s generally not recommended as a necessity to test for MTHFR mutations, but if your homocysteine levels are high, then it may be a good idea.

There are several gene tests available, including ones that you can perform at home.

Certain genetic testing products particularly focus on detecting mutations that are present in your genes, which can give you a better view of how your DNA and genetic makeup are affecting your health. 

mthfr and methylation

MTHFR and Methylation: A Beginner’s Guide Conclusion

The methylation process that occurs in your body depends on the functionality of your MTHFR gene.

This gene helps with the production of folate, as well as several other substances.

It’s important to have a thorough understanding of how the gene affects methylation and to ensure you know what happens when you have certain mutations that affect these genes.